HBO's Elizabeth Holmes Film Rekindles Debate on Her Voice

Literally: People want to know if she faked the baritone
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2019 2:48 PM CDT
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco in 2015.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – The stunning rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her now-defunct company, Theranos, gets a thorough rehashing in an HBO documentary that debuted Monday night. Alex Gibney's The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is winning praise for its look at how Holmes' claim of inventing a simple blood-testing technique turned out to be all hype and no science. Here's a sampling of reaction:

  • The voice: Holmes has a famously baritone voice. Hear it in this 2015 interview. But many people are apparently hearing it for the first time in the documentary, renewing a debate: Did she fake the voice, too? A post at Town & Country notes that several people have come forward to assert that she did fake it, and a roundup of tweets at W magazine finds plenty who would agree. Here is the take of Katie McDonough at Jezebel: "Holmes’s chosen fake voice, meant to project gravitas and business acumen, is the same voice that I (and maybe you) put on when making fun of very stupid men."
  • The voice, II: This quote, in an ABC podcast about Holmes, is now in wide circulation. It's from Stanford prof Dr. Phyllis Gardner, who knew Holmes as a freshman. “When she came to me she didn’t have a low voice," says Gardner. "When I next saw her again was at the Harvard Medical School board meeting where she was being introduced. She says with this low voice and I’m like, 'Oh my god.' It was quite off."

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